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PEACE TO WAR
Shifting Allegiances
in the Assemblies of God

C. Henry Smith Series 9

Paul Alexander

Foreword by Glen Stassen


“The first time I read this manuscript it shocked me.” —J. Denny Weaver, in the C. Henry Smith Series Editor's Foreword

Summary: Once the Pentecostal peace witness extended throughout the movement and around the world—but was eventually muted and almost completely lost in the American Assemblies of God. This book tells the story of that shift. As Alexander documents, "The war church is a harlot church!" said an early twentieth-century fiery Pentecostal preacher—reflecting the conscientious objection and nonviolence that was the official position of the Assemblies of God, 1917-1967. But by the end of the twentieth century, the majority of AOG pastors in America believed that Jesus himself would support war and that they should kill for their country if necessary.

Comment: "With the Pentecostal movement growing more rapidly than any other branch of Christianity, this book helps us understand how it lost its original deep commitment to the Prince of Peace and to peacemaking. But is also suggests that Pentecostals may yet reclaim this invaluable element of their heritage." —Harvey Cox, Author, Fire From Heaven; Hollis Professor of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School

"This is a gripping, powerful, and prophetic book. Alexander documents the transformation—more accurately: devolution—of the American Assemblies of God over the course of the twentieth century from its roots as an antiwar, pacifistic, and peace-seeking church into a nationalistic, militaristic, and Americanist denomination, even while raising important questions for the Pentecostal witness in the twenty-first century." —Amos Yong, Ph.D., Professor of Theology and Director of PhD Program in Renewal Studies, Regent University School of Divinity

"Provocative and well researched, Alexander’s contribution to the history of American Pentecostal history and theology should be required reading for anyone who takes faith and academic inquiry seriously." —Arlene Sanchez-Walsh, Associate Professor, Church History and Latino Church Studies, Haggard Graduate School of Theology

"Alexander tells a story of the loss of a corporate crucifist vision, but more than that, he reveals how communities of faith can barter away important elements of Christian identity for acceptance and influence. The implications of this study are worth examining by all traditions asking the question, 'Will our children have faith?'" —Cheryl Bridges Johns, Professor of Christian Formation and Discipleship, Church of God Theological Seminary

"Alexander has paid impressively extensive and accurate attention to the health that is intrinsic to Pentecostalism, and his diagnosis is full of suggestions for the direction of new life." —Glen Stassen, in the Foreword

Market: Scholars, professors, and graduate students; historians of pacifism and the Assemblies of God; anyone interested in the AOG and how Christian groups move from conscientious objection to support for warmaking.

Shelving: Peacemaking, pacifism, nonviolence; History—Assemblies of God. BISAC: Religion, Social Sciences. RTM: 690 Religion/Ethics

The Author: Paul Alexander, Professor of Theology and Ethics as Azusa (CA) Pacific University, is a Pentecostal peacemaker and justice seeker who after cheering the 1991 bombing of Iraq discovered nonviolence in his Assemblies of God heritage. In 2001 Alexander founded Pentecostals and Charismatics for Peace and Justice.

Publisher: Cascadia Publishing House
Copublisher: Herald Press
Publication date: January 15, 2009 (copies available now)
Approximate Pages: 432
Format: 6 x 9" trade paper
Prices: $26.95 US/Can.
ISBN 13: 978-1-931038-58-4; ISBN 10: 1-931038-59-9

 

 
 

 
 
 
 
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Copyright 2009 by Cascadia Publishing House LLC
01/07/09